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Boilerplate for asyncio applications

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Here’s the big idea (how you use it):

import asyncio
from aiorun import run

async def main():
    # Put your application code here
    await asyncio.sleep(1.0)

if __name__ == '__main__':

This package provides a run() function as the starting point of your asyncio-based application.

The run() function will handle everything that normally needs to be done during the shutdown sequence of the application. All you need to do is write your coroutines and run them.

So what the heck does run() do exactly?? It does these standard, idiomatic actions for asyncio apps:

  • creates a Task for the given coroutine (schedules it on the event loop),
  • calls loop.run_forever(),
  • adds default (and smart) signal handlers for both SIGINT and SIGTERM that will stop the loop, if if the loop stops it…
  • …gathers all outstanding tasks,
  • cancels them using task.cancel(),
  • waits for the executor to complete shutdown, and
  • finally closes the loop.

All of this stuff is boilerplate that you will never have to write again. So, if you use aiorun this is what you need to remember:

  • Spawn all your work from a single, starting coroutine
  • When a shutdown signal is received, all currently-pending tasks will have CancelledError raised internally. It’s up to you whether you want to handle this in a try/except or not.
  • Try to have executor jobs be shortish, since shutdown will wait for them to finish. If you need a long-running thread or process tasks, use a dedicated thread/subprocess and set daemon=True instead.

There’s not much else to know for general use. aiorun has a few special tools that you might need in unusual circumstances. These are discussed next.

Smart shield for shutdown

It’s unusual, but sometimes you’re going to want a coroutine to not get interrupted by cancellation during the shutdown sequence. You’ll look in the official docs and find asyncio.shield().

The problem is that shield() doesn’t work in shutdown scenarios because the protection offered by shield() only applies if the specific coroutine inside which the shield() is used, gets cancelled directly.

If, however, you go through a conventional shutdown sequence (like aiorun is doing internally), you would call tasks = all_tasks(), followed by group = gather(*tasks), and then group.cancel(), the secret, inner task that shield() silently creates internally will get cancelled, since it’ll be includede in that all_tasks() call. It’s not a very good shield for the shutdown sequence.

Therefore, we have a version of shield() that works better for us: shutdown_waits_for(). If you’ve got a coroutine that must not be cancelled during the shutdown sequence, just wrap it in shutdown_waits_for()!

Here’s an example:

import asyncio
from aiorun import run, shutdown_waits_for

async def corofn():
    await asyncio.sleep(60)

async def main():
        await shutdown_waits_for(corofn())
    except asyncio.CancelledError
        print('oh noes!')


If you run this program, and do nothing, it’ll run forever ‘cause that’s how works. You will see only done! printed in the output, and you’ll have to send a signal or CTRL-C to stop it, at which point you’ll see oh noes! printed.

If, however, you hit CTRL-C before 60 seconds has passed, you will see oh noes! printed immediately, and then after 60 seconds since start, done! is printed, and thereafter the program exits.

Behind the scenes, all tasks would have been cancelled by CTRL-C, except ones wrapped in shutdown_waits_for() calls. In this respect, it is loosely similar to asyncio.shield(), but with special applicability to our shutdown scenario in aiorun().

Oh, and you can use shutdown_waits_for() as if it were asyncio.shield() too. For that use-case it works the same. If you’re using aiorun, there is no reason to use shield().

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